Free In Deed
Directed by Jake Mahaffy
When a single mother brings her young boy to church for healing, this lonely pentecostal minister is forced to confront the seemingly incurable illness of the child... and his own demons as well. The more he prays, the more things seem to spiral out of his control.
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★★★½ review by Zach Nabors on Letterboxd
I usually don't concentrate so hard on the performances but the cast was amazing, especially David Harewood's performance as the damaged, blessed-by-God healer (a power he believes he has). The story itself, solid. The tight cinematography works well most of the time, but its that slight halo-effect around characters or lights at times that did become too persistent. The muted colors and the score became a bit much at times, although I recognize they are fully trying to keep in step with the larger motifs. But I must admit the second part of the film nearly lost me. Absolutely bored with it. Times where I couldn't hear Harewood's character. But the director, Mahaffy, stays the course, rides the strong ideas and themes the film is trying to tackle and he eventually rides them to their best end in terms of the quality of the film, meaning it ended the way it had to. Eventually, through tragedy, Mahaffy and crew save the film. Court systems and medical institutions come up among other things, and Mahaffy could have easily just let them be some simple one-off but instead, we watch--for example-- Edwina Dickerson's character bounce around from hospital to hospital, doctor to doctor with her special needs child and continuously turned away, falling through the cracks. Which ties into how through blind faith, if you want to call it that, can leave someone who is desperate and vulnerable to be manipulated by various people and institutions. Mahaffy never damns the church, which many directors and writers would not have been able to resist. Instead Mahaffy showed their warts, as he did the hospital's and the working/living conditions of what I perceived to be on the outskirts of Memphis, TN. Not too far away from me at all. Now what Mahaffy has left, is another viewing maybe a few years from now. Because their is a lot packed into this micro-budget project. What do we do when no one can help? Cannot help percolate in the backs of the viewers minds even as we witness in the final scene one of the main characters not lose their faith but in fact literally crawl back to God.
★★★★ review by Gabriele Capolino on Letterboxd
There's a lot of Sutton's MEMPHIS in Jake Mahaffy's Venezia 72 Orizzonti winner FREE IN DEED, hopeless and claustrophobic true story set in a land with no God. Have we just discovered a new talent?
★★★★★ review by Peter Valerio on Letterboxd
What a powerful film. I wasn't expecting this. Dreamlike and ethereal. Nevertheless, it drew me in and hit me on an emotional level. A woman turns to faith healing for her autistic son.
★★★½ review by Matthias on Letterboxd
I felt depressed,
So naturally a pick a film about a empoverished black woman who struggles with her disabled son, is failed by a disinterested health-care system, and turns to seek help from religious fundamentalists who think the possibility of his healing will validate their needs from an absent God.
I passed on White Christmas why again?
On its own the movie is a hard but fascinating viewing (its based on a true story). The camera doesn’t shy away from dragging the audience through this gritty unjust world, and at nearly two hours it feels overtly raw. Still I caught myself checking my watch. The Middle of the film drags a bit until the very late third act.
★★★★★ review by Chris Mac on Letterboxd
Man. What a challenging film.
Excellent direction for what seems to be a first time feature. It’s support by the Sundance Institute I’m sure has had a great affect on the all around talent of its production.
I think I might have to view it again in order to dive into my thoughts on the subject matter. Personally, it convicts me as a man of faith to always operate in wisdom in all circumstances. From operating in prayer, giving words of encouragement, and understanding possibly dangerous encounters.
Tough film. But very good.
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